Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour, Jerusalem (Self Guided)

Mount Zion, as many other places in Jerusalem, is a biblical site. This name was mentioned in manuscripts dating back to the first millennium BC. It was called the Town of David and David s tomb is here. This self-guided tour will lead you to the biblical sites of Mount Zion and other modern attractions in its surroundings.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Author: vickyc
St. Peter's Church in Gallicantu

1) St. Peter's Church in Gallicantu (must see)

The Church of St. Peter in Gallincantu is named for the famous disciple’s rejection of Jesus Christ, as told in Mark 14:30. The term “Gallincantu” is Latin for cock-crow. This place is located outside the Old City of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of Mount Zion. It was originally the site of a Byzantine shrine that was built in 457. It was sadly destroyed, and a chapel was then built on the site by the Crusaders in 1102. That rebuild was destroyed, and in 1931, the Church was rebuilt as it stands today. Fittingly, a rooster is on one of the roof peaks. There is some thought that the High Priest Caiaphas may have had his palace here.

The church is in a beautiful spot and the landscape drops off sharply toward the Kidron Valley. Make sure to allow extra time just to wander the grounds and enjoy the spectacular view. You can also find the ruins of many centuries worth of buildings that have been erected in this spot in Jerusalem. In fact, the north side of the building has a model set up to show what the city might have looked like during the Byzantine era. There are a set of steps that may be the original passageway between the upper and lower city. Sculptures and reliefs are around the grounds too that depict scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and also the denial by Peter.

The inside of the church is beautiful with several mosaics and paintings. There is a lower level that also has a chapel and a series of caves. Evidence exists that these were once part of a Byzantine shrine. Traditionally, it is thought to be where Jesus was held after His arrest. However, these types of cavernous structures were normal in the houses of the period. So while he may have been held here, it is not certain.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30am-5pm
Free entry
Sight description based on wikipedia
Zion Gate

2) Zion Gate

This famous location also goes by the name of Shaar Zion, or Bab Sahyun. The locals also call it the "Jewish Quarter Gate. It is one of eight gates that were built into the walls of the Old City.

It is built into the south side of the wall, facing Mount Zion and Hebron. As the Arab name for this structure implies, it leads directly into the Armenian and Jewish Quarters. It is also sometimes called David's Gate. And if the legends are true about the famous king being buried on Mt. Zion, then the name fits well.

The famous southern gate constructed by order of Suleiman the Magnificent. It was built circa 1540. During the 19th century, the location became famous as a gathering place of lepers. In 1948, some of the underground forces of the Jewish people repatriated the Jewish Quarter by means of this opening into the town. The stones in the walls and homes here are chipped from the battle. The holes made during the conflict are still visible today. When the last of the British troops left Jerusalem on May 13, 1948, Mordechai Weingarten was presented with a key to the gate. Up until this time, Jordan controlled the location.

In current times, pedestrians and cars of all kinds use the opening, although getting a vehicle through the L shaped opening is almost impossible. Today, it is a one way road, only leading into the city, because two way traffic simply became too dangerous.
King David's Tomb

3) King David's Tomb (must see)

King David’s Tomb is located in Jerusalem on Mount Zion. Although there is serious doubt as to whether this is the actual burial place of King David, the site is still worthy of a visit. This site has been held by Christians, Muslims and Jews over the years, each with claims on the area.

Currently, the Tomb is in Jewish control, and parts are open for public visitation. The entrance is from a church that the Crusaders built during the 12th century. There is beautiful tile work in this first antechamber and the patchwork was done to match the repairs to the Dome of the Rock during the 1500s. In the second antechamber is a mihrab dating from the 1400s when the area was under Muslim control. This room also has wonderful tile work.

The Tomb is also called a cenotaph and this area can be viewed from behind an iron grate in the second antechamber. The original tomb was removed and placed in a stone sarcophagus that was built to encase the tomb. There is no knowledge whether there are any remains in there. An embroidered blue cloth that dates probably from the 1500s covers the sarcophagus. This sits in a niche that is dated from around the 4th century. The black on the walls is from various fighting for this area and also from the candles that have been lit for religious purposes.

Entrance into King David’s Tomb is free; men should have their heads covered. Modest dress is advised.

Why You Should Visit:
King David is an essential part of Jewish identity. At his tomb, you realize that, in a way, he is still alive.

You can take pictures (but try not to upset the people praying).
Be sure to be appropriately covered if you are a woman.
Dormition Abbey

4) Dormition Abbey (must see)

Dormition Abbey is built upon the site that traditionally is thought to be where the Blessed Virgin Mary died. It was constructed in the early 1900s as a German Benedictine Abbey on top of Mount Zion, just outside of the city walls at the Zion Gate. It sits atop a Byzantine church that lay in ruins called Hagia-Maria-Scion and sometimes the abbey is known by that name.

The Byzantine Church was built by Christians several hundred years after the death of Jesus. It was destroyed, and several centuries later the Crusaders rebuilt the structure. It was again destroyed and remained in ruins until the land was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who commissioned the building. The Abbey also includes a beautiful large round sanctuary and a large bell tower. The top of the place has a rooster on the weather vane to symbolize Peter’s denial of Jesus. This place is called Dormitio Beatae Mariae Virginis or Holy Sleep of the Virgin Mary. It was damaged during the 1948 war and was restored again after the 6-day war. The name Dormition is an old word that means “falling asleep” or death and the resurrection to heaven.

The inside of the church are six alcoves or small chapels that have incredible mosaic work depicting the life of Mary and Jesus. There is a crypt in the lower level that holds the sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s deathbed. Visitors can light candles at this location. Chapels and alters have been donated from around the world and make the tour of the church just breathtaking.

It is free to get in the Dormition Abbey. Hours vary, so check before going.

Make sure to use their 3-shekel bathroom to see the ruins they have there with an explanation!
Also, the attached coffee shop is a real haven in the maze complex of the Old City.
Sultan’s Pool Amphitheater

5) Sultan’s Pool Amphitheater

The Sultan’s Pool amphitheater is a venue for music of all types. When the weather is warm, evening concerts are common here and they might include international pop stars, classical music or multimedia events. Like the rest of Jerusalem, this area is a fascinating combination of centuries of different uses and control of the land.

The Sultan’s Pool is located in the Valley of Hinnom where the Old city of Jerusalem stood. The valley gets its name from children sacrifices to pagan gods is centuries past. The practice was stopped and this area was then a place to burn the city garbage. Both these acts gave the valley the Hebrew name for hell (GeiHannom).

An amphitheater and pool were built here during the reign of Herod. The pool was connected to the city by an aqueduct to provide water. The aqueduct was modernized by Suleiman the Magnificent during his reign in the 16th century. Parts of the ancient aqueduct are still visible along with the pool walls.

All this makes for a magnificent place to hold an outdoor event. The walls of the Old City and the Tower of David provide an amazing backdrop to any event here.
St. Andrew's Scots Memorial Church

6) St. Andrew's Scots Memorial Church (must see)

St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland was built on a hill southwest of the Mount of Olives as a memorial to the Scottish soldiers who fought and died in this area during World War I. The money for the church was raised throughout Britain for the project, and it is part of the official religious institution for the country. There used to be a fair number of Scotts living in the area, but that changed after the 6-Day War. There are still signs of the shelling the building took during that battle. The guest house here can be reserved for visitors on their website.

The name Andrew commemorates one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the patron Saint of Scotland. King Robert the Bruce (1306-1329) wanted his heart to be buried in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, that was not to be, but there is a small plaque commemorating the famous Scotsman.

This area used to be a Necropolis. There are ancient tombs here that date back to 1000 B.C. The building looks like it could have been a Scottish castle. Below the Church is an area that was used as a Scottish hospital. It now houses craftsmen of Jerusalem and is called the House of Quality.

While visiting the Church, be sure to take a look at all the Armenian blue ceramics. They are found in various fountains, as well as under the stairwell. The blues are just breathtakingly beautiful. Mosaic ceramics and tile work are also found throughout the place. One more interesting fact, the hill the sanctuary is located on is the water divide. The rain that falls on the western side of the area goes to the Mediterranean Sea, while water on the eastern side goes into the Dead Sea.

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour

Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour

Latrun is a hilltop on the road to Jerusalem. It has must see attractions such as "mini Israel", monasteries and the historical Emmaus. This self-guided tour will lead you to these historical, archaeological and cultural monuments:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives is on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will see the magnificent churches that are also biblical sites, a very old cemetery with tombs of the Prophets. For many people this is a holy place as God is always present here. The following self-guided tour will lead you through the Mount of Olives landmarks:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
New Jerusalem Walking Tour

New Jerusalem Walking Tour

West Jerusalem or New Jerusalem is made up entirely of westernized, modern neighborhoods. This part of the city was built around the wall of the Old Jerusalem city. The following self-guided tour will lead you to some interesting streets, art galleries, museums and shops in New Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Old City Orientation Walk

Old City Orientation Walk

The Old City of Jerusalem, the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is a home to a number of sites of great religious importance, such as the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. Walking here is an experience not to be missed. Take this orientation walk to see the key sights of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour in Jerusalem

Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour in Jerusalem

Jerusalem was considered for centuries to be the center of the universe. The most famous figure in the history of mankind, Jesus Christ, fulfilled his divine mission in this city. This self-guided tour will retrace the steps of Jesus to show you some of the holiest places in the world.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Famous Architecture of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Famous Architecture of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Traditionally, Jerusalem was said to be the center of the universe. It is a very old city with many ancient buildings, with architecture dating back to Roman times and later reflecting both European and Islamic influences. The following self-guided tour will take you to the most interesting architectural highlights of Jerusalem.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.1 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Jerusalem for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Jerusalem has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Jerusalem's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Jerusalem City Pass by Ticketbar, Jerusalem City Pass by Musement, or Jerusalem City Pass by Viator.

A city pass combines all Jerusalem's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Jerusalem hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem, The David Citadel Hotel, Prima Kings Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Jerusalem, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Jerusalem typically costs somewhere between US$10+ and US$90 per person:

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Jerusalem – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Provoke your contemplating eternal matters on a mixed (coach and walking) tour of Jerusalem, the city where the ancient and religious are intertwined more than anywhere else in the world. With the help of an expert guide try and perceive the profound meaning and context behind the holy Christian and Jewish sites of Old and New Jerusalem.

- Visit the places that once saw Jesus Christ in flesh, feel the tales of the Bible become real on a walking tour of Jerusalem led by a knowledgeable local guide. Walk the stones of Via Dolorosa in the footsteps of the Messiah to his crucifixion and learn more about that pivotal day in human history.

- Explore the city of three religions through the eyes of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers on a 4-hour guided walk of Old Jerusalem to the holy places and landmarks revered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and learn about the religious beliefs associated with them.

- Tantalize your taste buds with the scents and sights of exotic delicacies fit to arouse anyone's appetite on a 3-hour guided tour of Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s biggest outdoor market! Explore the city's favorite marketplace in its variety.

- Descend into the unknown, at least until recently, deep beneath the ground to explore the ancient roots of Jerusalem on a 1.5-hour guided tour through the centuries-old tunnel dating back to the times of the Second Temple. Get a chance to touch and hear about some truly incredible artifacts found here, and more.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Jerusalem, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Bethlehem and Jericho, Masada and the Dead Sea, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, or the West Bank. For as little as as circa US$100 to US$125 per person you will get a chance to experience first-hand the ancient and Biblical treasures, discover fascinating religious history, see the fabled Biblical and Nativity sites, scenes of the New Testament stories including places where Jesus performed miracles, plus explore legendary ruins, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Jerusalem, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus or a private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.